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March 20, 2007

Forest City Ratner’s spending on lobbyists: large, but small—and with a big payoff

lobbyists.jpgAtlantic Yards Report has last season's stats for Forest City Ratner's lobbying efforts:

As announced yesterday in a state report, [Forest City Ratner] spent $2.1 million last year, ranking third in the state but far outpacing any other organization involved in real estate projects.
The largest single lobbying contract, $656,520, went to law firm of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, representing Forest City Ratner.

Coming in second, with a $527,875 contract from Columbia University, was the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, which also represents Forest City, though not as a lobbyist. Columbia also has a dicey land use project involving eminent domain.

Also, Forest City Ratner ranked second, tied with the American Lawyer Media Company, behind Verizon in retaining the largest number of lobbyists: 8; up from 7 in 2005. And it’s worth mentioning that the amount of money spent on lobbyists for real estate and construction rose more than 48% over 2005.

That's a lot of dough, unless you consider how much Ratner stands to make:

On the other hand, $2.1 million isn‚t much. It represents barely .05% for a $4 billion project, though a significantly higher fraction of the money Forest City would put up itself. Then again, should the project work out as expected, $2 million should be easy to recoup it's revenue from the sale of two condos or perhaps ten of 172 arena suites in just one year.
If the lobbyists actually persuaded the city to more than double its contribution from $100 million to $205 million—enough to cover the developer’s bid for the 8.5-acre Vanderbilt Yard, as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn points out—well, they certainly earned their keep.


Note: The image is our own flourish — Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder wouldn't stoop so low.

Posted by lumi at March 20, 2007 7:23 AM